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Helping a loved one with a spinal cord injury improve the quality of their life is valuable work, but can also be stressful. Explore some keys to easing your caregiving burden.
Being a caregiver for a spouse, parent, child, or other loved one with a spinal cord injury is a role that can be time-consuming, frustrating, and overwhelming. Caregiving requires significant effort and major life changes.
Yet, caregiving can be rewarding too. Fulfilling your commitment to a loved one and selflessly devoting your time to improving their life can be a gratifying experience.
Of course, not everyone chooses to be a caregiver – sometimes the role chooses you. That simple fact can make you feel a loss of control. The good news is that there are many aspects of caregiving you can control.
It takes a village
As you embark on the caregiving journey, it’s vital to pull together a team to assist you in several key areas, such as medical care, health insurance, and even driving. Getting others involved – along with the social interaction – may also keep you from feeling feel alone. Your team may include:
Take care of yourself
Airline flight safety instructions always include a key point about using oxygen masks should the cabin depressurize – you need to take care of yourself first before you help another. That’s an apt analogy if you’re a caregiver.
Attempting to be a caregiver while still managing the other parts of your life can quickly lead to burn out if you don’t make your own wellbeing a top priority. Consider these practical tips to help you maintain good physical and emotional health:
Above all, realise that you are not alone. There are many caregiver-focused organisations with support programmes, as well as magazines and libraries that are great sources of additional information.
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